By Aaron Post
The Seneca County Budget Commission opted to raise anticipated revenue from sales taxes flowing into the 2012 county budget Monday morning.
"I don't know why, people just spend money," County Treasurer Damon Alt. "All across the board the numbers were up."
The commission unanimously passed a motion increasing the expected sales tax revenue for the county by $550,000 for the year.
The Budget Commission consists of Alt, Seneca County Auditor Julie Adkins and County Prosecutor Derek Devine and they are responsible for monitoring distribution of local government funds.
"Two-thirds of this money will go into the county sales tax and one-third will go towards the half-percent county sales tax," Adkins said.
Seneca County has two local sales taxes totalling 1.5 percent; One is a half-percent and the other is a 1-percent.
"Of the total 7 percent sales (tax) from the state on purchases at stores and gas stations, 1.5 percent stays local," Assistant Administrator Tanya Hemmer said.
In the May 2003 primary, the half-percent sales tax was voted down by Seneca County voters, but it was passed as an emergency in 2007 by commissioners without going to voters, Hemmer said.
The half-percent sales tax was expected to bring in $2.3 million for 2012 when the budget was put together last year. As of July 31, it brought in $1.4 million, or 63 percent of what the Budget Commission previously expected.
The combined sales taxes were expected to bring in $6.7 million this year, but the budget commission adjusted that figure to an anticipated $7.25 million by the end of 2012.
A separate motion was passed to lower the line item from the Jail Housing Fund in the Seneca County Sheriff's Office by $200,000 in expected revenue.
Devine and Alt approved the motion, with Adkins abstaining.
"While a decrease is needed now, is that enough of a decrease?" Adkins said.
The Budget Commission previously adjusted its forecast in June by lowering expected revenue from the sheriff's office by $500,000 for this line item.
A Board of Revision meeting immediately followed the Budget Commission meeting, where Adkins granted several taxpayer requests to remove a real estate penalty previously applied to four taxpayers in the county.